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FSHS health questionnaire for new students now in its 10th year


Sep 3, 2019

Since autumn 2009, the FSHS has invited all first-year students at universities and other institutions of higher education to a health check consisting of an electronic health questionnaire and, if necessary, a personal appointment. Again this autumn, nearly 25,000 students in different parts of Finland will be invited to complete the questionnaire.

“The FSHS was the first in Finland to introduce an electronic health questionnaire, and now, 10 years later, it is easy to see that the importance of the questionnaire for both the well-being of students and the targeting and resourcing of our services is indisputable”, states FSHS Medical Director Päivi Metsäniemi.

The FSHS systematically utilises information gained about its activities, including the need for different services, contacts with the FSHS, quality and effectiveness. The health questionnaire intended for new students is an important source of information for planning and targeting services. The questionnaire also provides the FSHS with an overall picture of students’ circumstances at a particular institution, together with information that can be used to promote the health of the whole community.

The FSHS health questionnaire contains a broad spectrum of questions relating to student health and matters influencing their health: health status, health behaviour, personal relationships and matters concerning studies. Each student completing the health questionnaire receives a personal assessment of their health status. If necessary, an appointment will be booked.

“It’s important for us to reach students who have health issues or need support in other ways right at the beginning of their studies. The health questionnaire allows us to offer personal health discussions to those students who are likely to benefit from them the most. For example, if mental health problems are detected as early as possible, low-threshold short-term treatment will probably help in most cases”, Metsäniemi explains.

Health questionnaire reaches the right target group

The number of students completing the health questionnaire has varied annually. In 2009, the response rate was 55% and last academic year 39%. According to the students, reasons for not responding include lack of time and poor communications. However, a survey completed last autumn (Sähköiseen terveyskyselyyn vastaamatta jättäneet yliopisto-opiskelijat*) relating to university students who have not completed the electronic health questionnaire shows that the health questionnaire reaches those students who need to be reached.

“The survey findings show that the FSHS health questionnaire identifies those first-year students with health issues. The results also reveal that the most active respondents are university students who are concerned about their health status and mental health. This means that hardly any students experiencing significant health issues or psychiatric symptoms are left unidentified”, Metsäniemi says.

Further information:
Medical Director Päivi Metsäniemi, tel. 045 633 8858

Further information on the survey:
Noora Seilo, Lic. Med., Researcher, University of Tampere
*) Ritakorpi, M., Kaunonen, M., Kaila, M., Paldanius, S., & Seilo, N. (2019). Sähköiseen terveyskyselyyn vastaamatta jättäneet yliopisto-opiskelijat - katoanalyysi. Sosiaalilääketieteellinen Aikakauslehti, 56(1). https://doi.org/10.23990/sa.70440